Fright Night Part 2

Fright Night Part 2 ★★★

William Ragsdale and Roddy McDowall return, as student Charley Brewster and horror TV host Peter Vincent, to do battle with a new set of vampires (and again, one werewolf who's also somehow involved), but the rest of the original Fright Night's cast are nowhere to be seen, unfortunately. Their replacements aren't terrible by any means, but none of them have the presence of Chris Sarandon, Stephen Geoffreys or even Amanda Bearse.

The plot is woefully basic and predictable, with Charley & Peter being targeted by supernatural creatures of the night due to their slaying of Sarandon's character three years previously (what took them so long?), which once again causes tension between Charley and his (new) girlfriend, and in the end they fight back using crucifixes, holy water and wooden stakes. Somehow the girlfriend instinctively knows that werewolves' heads catch fire if you stuff flowers in their mouths, which is something I've never come across before.

It all feels a bit by-the-numbers, and it's a shame that director Tommy Lee Wallace wasn't able to bring any of that sweet Halloween III atmosphere to this project. (He wouldn't make his third feature film until 2002's sequel to Vampires, so there's definitely a pattern emerging, very slowly.) Of course, it's the makeup effects that elevate the film beyond its unremarkable trappings, and thanks to the unspoken rule (well, spoken in The Lost Boys) that no two vampires die the same way, the FX departments get to use their imagination and destroy the monsters in all sorts of glorious fashions, easily saving the picture from being a forgettable follow-up.